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Robertson sisters shine for diamonds

It was a good weekend for the Robertson's, with Michaela marking her 100th appearance for Wellington United with her 98th goal and her sister, Jemma, taking her total for the season to 15 with a strike that is a definite contender for goal of the season, as Wellington United came from behind to see off Wairarapa United 2-1 in the W-League.

Both teams were depleted due to New Zealand Football deciding to run the youth futsal championships this weekend, Diamonds were missing five and Wairarapa three from the starting line ups that met each other the weekend before in the Kate Sheppard Cup. Diamonds promoted three players from the second team (Sapphires) with experienced forward Sandy Cumpstone starting and Sophie Smith and Kendal Gaby-Sutherland getting runs off the bench. They also saw the return of Hope Gilchrist, back in NZ on holiday from college in the USA.

Wairarapa as well as having players out for the youth Futsal nationals also had lost Nina Kondo who was traveling with the NZU17 team to China. They were also without coach Paul Ifill, who had taken a weekend off due to a concussion injury.

It was the Diamonds who enjoyed the majority of the possession and territorial advantage in the first half but despite this neither goalkeeper had much to do. In the second half, coach Guille Schiltenwolf, kept the same formation but made some personnel changes, including moving top scorer Jemma Robertson from the center back role she had been playing back into her normal position leading the attacking line. It looked as if the plan may have backfired when Wairarapa managed to exploit the fact that the unbeatable Robertson was no longer in the back line and Darby Lambert broke free and slotted the ball past Molly Simons in the United goal.

However this was just a blip in a well executed game plan by the Diamonds, who continued to press and retain possession. They seemed to have a belief that the breakthrough would come and it did in the 69th minute when a clearance found Jemma Robertson about 25 meters out and side on to the goal, she bought the ball down beautifully, swiveled and fired a cracking shot in to the top corner of the net for a stunning goal. This goal really lifted the Diamonds and started a period of intense pressure where they had several shots on goal, the closest falling to Liz Crowe whose shot from the left wing looked destined for the top of the net but was thwarted by an excellent save from Wairarapa keeper Courtney Norman. Then with just three minutes left, Mickey Robertson broke through the defensive line and hit her shot into the bottom left hand corner to notch up her 98th goal for the club. On a day that she was making her 100th appearance for the club, it is a phenomenal record.

This had been a do or die game for the Diamonds in the league, a loss or a draw would have effectively seen their title hopes gone, but while remaining in third place this win brings them to within two points of Palmerston North Marist and Wairarapa United with five games to go. There is a belief around this team and pulling off a result with a depleted team is a massive confidence booster and bodes well for the rest of the season.

© Scoop Media

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